Working from home is a wonderful thing. There are so many benefits and definitely fewer costs than working in an office. Of course, there will be some expenses—not clothing or lunches out, but equipment and utilities.
You can make your office environment whatever you want it to be! I recommend, though, that you be cautious with your spending, especially when you are just starting your work-from-home journey. Here are six tips to set up a home office that will help you maximize your productivity with minimal investment.
Really think about and plan what you need. Start with the basics that are required: a phone and headset, computer and utilities (phone service, Internet access). Then think about what else you’ll need (or want): printer, bookshelf, décor, a comfy chair, etc. Consider buying things over time so you don’t end up with expensive equipment you never use.
Check any requirements from your company. Some companies require specific phone service (landline, not VoIP), phones or headsets, computer software and other things. Save yourself time, money and headaches by making sure you have exactly what is required—and not something that is “not recommended” or incompatible.
Do your research. Do your research before you purchase larger items so that you know what you want and how much it should cost. There are a multitude of online resources for new and used equipment and furniture as well as brick-and-mortar stores. Many businesses will price-match online storefronts.
Consider used or leased furniture and equipment. You may be able to get nicer things for less if you go second-hand or lease. Watch for businesses that are closing and selling their office goods, or try auctions. Remember that you will be responsible for IT support (unless you have another resource) so be sure you know exactly what you are getting if you go with used computer equipment.
Make the most of tax deductions. A home office may be a deduction on your tax return—with certain stipulations and requirements. Keep track of your expenses, save your receipts and consult a CPA or tax advisor about your specific situation.
Watch your energy consumption. Use portable heaters and fans so you aren’t heating or cooling the whole house when you are only in one room. Use lamps and make the most of natural light instead of using overhead lights. And turn off equipment at night.
Above all, take your time, do your research and in no time you will find yourself with a fantastic home office to help you be productive and successful.